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March 31, 2020

Chaudhry Sugar Mills case: Court grants Sharifs exemption from personal appearance

National

March 31, 2020

LAHORE: An accountability court on Monday granted exemption from personal appearance to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and nephew Yousaf Abbas in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills money laundering case till the filing of a reference.

As the hearing commenced on Monday, the counsel of the Sharif family argued before the court that his clients have been granted bail by the Lahore High Court. However, the NAB has yet not filed a reference before the court against them. He stated that under such circumstance, their personal appearance is of no use. The counsel implored the court to grant his clients exemption from personal appearance till the filing of the reference.

The court accepted the plea of the Sharif family and adjourned the hearing, directing the NAB to file the reference as soon as possible.

As per NAB, the bureau in January 2018 had received a Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) report describing huge suspicious transactions in billions of rupees in the accounts of the Chaudhry Sugar Mills under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

It is pertinent to mention here that in January 2018, the PML-N was ruling the country. After receiving the FMU report, the NAB started its inquiry in October 2018 and found that Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Shahbaz Sharif and family and Abbas Sharif and family are shareholders in the company along with some foreigners from the UAE and the UK. During probe, it was revealed that huge investments were made in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills from 2001 to 2017 for issuing shares in the name of foreigners.

Interestingly, later on, the same shares were transferred back to Maryam, Hussain and Nawaz without paying any money to the foreign business partners, the NAB alleged. Moreover, in previous hearings, the NAB prosecutor informed the court that during the probe, the bureau investigators have found out an agreement for the division of the family's assets, which revealed that 14.558 million shares of the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) were divided between Nawaz Sharif, his brothers Shahbaz Sharif, Abbas Sharif, sister Kausar and mother Shamim Begum. The prosecutor informed that as per record of the SECP, the mill had 20.62 million shares in 2008.